Our man from the hop fields continues to enjoy his Nissan Note. But there has been a problem along the way. Here, John explains how his squealy good car has become a really good car…
My first ramblings about the Nissan Note was centred on the good quality of service received from the Dealer when the car was first purchased. With that in mind I have monitored ongoing service levels as a measure of how good dealers and manufacturers are, and how good they are when things do not go to plan – but more of that later.
The Note purchased in September 2015 has now completed over 25,000 miles, running at average of 48 to the gallon during the last 10,000 miles. Yes it could be more MPG but my wife and I both have a problem with our right foot. The second service was carried out last month, for which no problems were found, except for one thing, and once again, more of that later.
The car has performed to expectations with all the positives previously mentioned still positive, and most of the negatives falling into the mists of time. This together with a lack of rattles or things falling off have lead me to re-evaluate my previous criticisms. Which in hindsight came from a previous life, when I drove cars which were a little more up market, a lot more expensive and paid for by someone else.
The minus’s which continues to irritate are the auto stop start when sitting in traffic with your foot on the brake pedal for extended periods of time and like Mike Humble on a previous test, I still find the suspension a bit hard and noisy over the bumps. The lady of the house is still amazed at the convenience, to the point that she commented that it has better access than the Ford Fiesta. Especially when loading children on to the back seats. Overall her opinion is that it’s one of the better cars she has had. So it’s got to be a maintained and credible 8 out of 10.
Now to the more of that later:
During the early part of April, whilst travelling, the car started to make what can only be described as a chirping sound, which continued from intermittent to permanent. (Like an old Vauxhall Viva) I suspected the auxiliary drive belt but wanted it confirmed, so I contacted the Nissan dealer in the area where I was and received excellent service. They advised that it was a known drive belt situation for which they “dressed the belt”. This solved the problem, but they said it could return.
On my return home I booked a 25,000 mile service with my local dealer. Whilst waiting for the due service date the chirping started to return. When the car was serviced they investigated and gave the following answer: “Nissan are aware of a situation with the drive belts and suggest that if the situation persists then the belt could be changed to a “Gates belt” which is of a different manufacture from the original.
However, as the item is not covered by warranty and is not safety related the cost of changing would be £80.00 at the expense of the owner. My interpretation was that the alternative to paying was put up with the noise until the belt wears out or splits. Having worked within dealerships and having a well above the average understanding of the manufacturer’s policies that dealers have to follow, I decided to email Nissan, show my disappointment and see if they would make some form of gesture.
My view was that if it was a known “situation” that a belt change could rectify, then it was more than likely that the original belt was incorrectly specified or manufactured.
My email was acknowledged and over a couple of working days a case manager was allocated, my concerns were investigated, and I received a phone call to say authorisation has been given to the dealers to replace the belt at no charge to myself. This would be carried out as a goodwill gesture, as I was the owner and have a service plan with Nissan.
From which the dealership contacted me to arrange a convenient 10.00 AM appointment.
Whilst in for the belt change I was asked if there was any other matter. I mentioned a damp smell to investigate. As I was third in the queue they dropped me off home. Later that afternoon I received a call to say the belt was done, but the damp inspection was inconclusive so would need monitoring. I was collected and back home by 3.45pm
My thoughts from start to finish was; well done to all involved. From the diplomatic way matters were dealt with by the dealer service advisor, to the Nissan customer case manager for her prompt authorisation.
My other thought dear reader, is if you have a situation, don’t stew on it, speak with the relevant people. Oh and mentioning Autobritannia didn’t seem to do me any harm either. If you purchase and get the car serviced by a dealer, you might get a better answer than the one you were expecting. That’s why it’s worth paying that little extra when comparing them with the independents. Dealers may get a bad press sometimes, but they have a higher more costly bar to jump.
Mentioning Autobritannia brings me to Mike Humble’s review of the New Nissan Micra in which he advises that the Note is now consigned to that great showroom in the sky. What a pity as I was looking forward to seeing a mid-term update. Which could have been about the time to change cars, and then we would be able carry on singing in a different Note. However having looked at the Nissan Note alternatives whilst in for the drive belt change. I think that the Micra is just that little too small and without a CVT option.
The Juke a little too funky for me, together with its higher emissions. Also Judging by the number of Pulsars* seen around since its launch in 2014 its days could also be numbered. Maybe looking for an alternative will have to start early……..Ah but that will be another story.
*Editors Note: (no pun intended) despite the humdrum exterior of the Pulsar, its actually a damn good car to drive John.